Common name- Tiger Shark
Scientific name- Galeocerdo cuvier
Tiger Sharks are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List and currently have a decreasing population trend. They take their name from the tiger like stripes they display as juveniles. As they mature these stripes fade and become less obvious. Estimates of the average lifespan for the species vary between fifteen to twenty-seven years however some individuals have been recorded as old as fifty years. Males are typically larger than females and when fully grown have few natural predators.
Tiger Sharks are highly adaptable and can be found in all of the world’s temperate and tropical oceans excluding only the Mediterranean Sea. They are well adapted to live in both coastal and open ocean habitats and have been recorded as far north as Iceland and the United Kingdom.
Habitat and Ecology
Reefs, slopes and shelfs are all preferred habitats for Tiger Sharks. Predominantly favouring depths of down to 100m, some individuals have been observed as far down as 1,000 and may travel thousands of kilometres.
Tiger sharks have been one of the focus species of shark control programmes in South Africa, Australia and the Reunion Island, situated in the Indian Ocean. In addition to this they are targeted and hunted for their fins due to the ever-present demand from the shark fin industry. This is compounded by being caught as bycatch in commercial and artisanal fisheries.
Did you know?
Tiger sharks have an incredibly diverse diet and are powerful enough to bite through turtle shells, there have even been records of tires and licence plates found in the stomach of some individuals.
Why are they special?
Tiger sharks are a keystone species. Indeed, they have been identified in publications as the most important and influential predator on the Great Barrier Reef. Despite this however, they commonly fall foul of drumlines in the area.
https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Galeocerdo_cuvier/ (University of Michigan & Museum of Zoology).